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Summer 2013

In this issue - 

    We welcome  Tournou le Haut- a magical castle born in the eleventh century

   Our Featured Rental:  Château de Détilly in the Loire

Coming Soon:  two new members in northwest France

  Our B&B Feature:  Château de Vollore in the breathtaking Auvergne

    Burgundy:  Wine events, tastings and tours, cooking ~ brought to you 

News & Special Offers from our Members 

and  more!


 Bienvenue  Tournou le Haut
~  an exceptional rental in Languedoc-Roussillon  ~

Terrace and pool at Tournou le Haut.  Copyright C & J Childress. All rights reserved.Nestled in the hills of southern France's Aude département is our newest member, Tournou le Haut, a six-bedroom weekly rental property with an infinity swimming pool, outdoor terraces, a barbecue grill, bicycles, table tennis and a climate-controlled wine cellar.  Tracing its roots to the eleventh century, this completely renovated home away from home, will make your stay in France one of the best vacations you've ever had.  Located in the Minervois wine producing region, it is surrounded by fields of sunflowers and vineyards.

Originally a fortress serving as a Cathar watch tower, today the modern amenities of this little castle offer all the comforts of the 21st century while keeping history alive.  There is a modern, fully-equipped kitchen and a dining room that seats twelve.  For outdoor dining, there are two dining areas:  one on the balcony off the dining room and another pool side.  Those who can't bear to lose contact with the outside world will be pleased to know there is satellite TV, WiFi and unlimited Internet access, as well as a DVD player and stereo system to enjoy music during your stay.

Tournou le Haut salon and dining room

The region offers so much to see and do.  For those of you who want a close-up view of the Tour de France running from the end of June to July 21st, the race comes through Limoux on July 6th!  The piano museum in Limoux is celebrating its 10th year with ten concerts this year.  Visit the site for more information. Make your reservations today to stay at Tournou le Haut so you can take advantage of all these events!  And, of course, there are wonderful nearby attractions such as wine tasting in and around Limoux, festivals including the famous Limoux Fécos and the Toques et Clochers, and the walled city of Carcassonne, the Canal du Midi, specialty cassoulet restaurants, foie-gras, and Mediterranean beaches just an hour away.

Contact us today for your reservation at Tournou le Haut.  You'll love every minute there!

Photos are © copyrighted by C & J Childress.  All rights reserved.]

Burgundy Wine Events
and  Cooking Classes

David and Lynne Hammond.  Photo copyright D & L Hammond.  All rights reserved.

Bringing Burgundy to You comes well recommended to us by the owners of La Borde Maison d'Hôtes in the Yonne département of Burgundy.  The husband and wife team of David and Lynne Hammond are very active in the Burgundy wine scene, with expertise and creativity to design tours for visitors to the region, as well as bringing their knowledge to you if you are renting a château in France ~ yes, they'll come to you. Through wine events and wine sales, they literally are Bringing Burgundy To You.

For example, one very exciting offering by the Hammonds is a weekend being organized around the world-famous Beaune Wine Auction in November in partnership with the prestigious Ecole de Vins de Bourgogne in Beaune. Join in this special weekend ~ full details can be seen at  Currently they have 10 people confirmed and have just 4 places remaining!

Pinot Noir grapes.  Photo copyright D & L Hammond.  All rights reserved.Perhaps you'd be interested in seeing a review of each Burgundy vintage since 2002 on their web site.  This summary can be visited at   The Hammonds have lived and worked in Burgundy since 2003 and have unrivaled knowledge of the region, its wines and wine producers.  They've established excellent relationships with independent, family wine producers whose passion is the wine they create.  The Hammonds' goal is to bring that passion and expertise to each wine event they plan or to act as guides to what wines to buy, drink now, or set aside for the future  ~ no matter what your budget.

Cooking enthusiasts, and there seem to be more and more of them every day, will enjoy Lynne's selection of typical Burgundy recipes which you can see on her Cook In Burgundy site at .  A visit to her site may very well tempt you to be in one of her cooking classes, held in their Burgundy home, on your next visit.

Do visit their web sites and discover what the possibilities are for your next stay in Burgundy.  Make that time a special experience.  Through wine events, cooking classes, wine sales and wine gifts, David and Lynne bring Burgundy to you. 

[Photos copyright David & Lynne Hammond.  All rights reserved.]

Coming in July ...
~ a jewel in the Pays de la Loire ~ 

Château de la Caillotière.  Photo copyright M/Mme de Noblet.  All rights reserved.

Within two weeks, Château de la Caillotière will appear on our web site.  This stunning château was built over two hundred years ago as the home of a French ambassador, and his descendants still live there.  Today, they offer it to rent by the week for those who are eager to spend quality time living in a French château ~ an experience that will be long remembered.

On a park of more than seventy acres, the château is built of a pink-hued brick and tuffeau, the famous white stone of the Loire Valley.  There is a tranquil pond at the front of the château, an arboretum containing hundreds of rare species of bushes and trees chosen for their flowers, a kitchen garden, a new tennis court, a swimming pool, and a horse and pony for riding.

Château de la Caillotière offers guests five bedrooms, four of which are en suite.  There is a brand new spacious kitchen with stainless steel Caillotière guest room with four-poster bed.  Copyright M/Mme de Noblet.  All rights reserved.appliances and a 6-burner stove.  Two dining rooms allow for taking meals formally or informally, and all the rooms in the château are tastefully decorated in authentic French style.  The third floor is home to a small chapel with a vaulted ceiling and the original trompe l'oeil wallpaper.

We are certain that anyone looking for a relaxing and enjoyable week or two in the French countryside will find the Pays de la Loire and this château, convenient to Paris, the perfect destination.  Guests can arrive by flying into Nantes or taking the train from Paris to Angers.  There is a wealth of things to do and see in this region of France just north of the Loire River, including day trips to the area's royal châteaux.  To learn more, do visit au Château in a few weeks to see many photos and read all about the château, or contact us to make an advance reservation. 

[Photo copyright M/Mme de Noblet.  All rights reserved.]

French Quiz 115

Where are we? 

Can you name the building and the city?

Quiz 115. © Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved

The first person who sends us the correct complete answer 
will receive our exclusive au Château Note Cards.

Send your answer by email to

See the answer to the last issue's Quiz at the end of this newsletter.
The answer to this quiz will appear in our Autumn 2013 newsletter.

[Photo © Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

Coming very soon . . .
~ a treasure on the Normandy coast ~

Château de Tocqueville tower.  Photo copyright S. Tocqueville.  All rights reserved.

If you are arriving in France by ferry from Britain, Château de Tocqueville is a convenient destination on the Cotentin Peninsula.  The château is the family home of the descendants of Alexis de Tocqueville, a world-famous political thinker, historian and author of the 19th century.  You can learn more about him and his remarkable life when their pages appear on au Château in July. 

At one end of this large château is the round tower, and at the opposite south end is the square Pavillon, shown in the photo below.  This is a beautifully appointed, just renovated self-catering accommodation with five en suite bedrooms, a modern and fully-equipped kitchen, a dining area and salons for relaxation.

This property does not offer B&B accommodations, but the Pavillon is offered for rent by the week or, when available, in mid-week for short breaks.  The proprietors will be happy to arrange a chef who will come to the Pavillon to prepare meals for you and your group at a reasonable cost. Of course, there are also fine restaurants nearby.

The Pavillon at Château de Tocqueville.  Photo copyright S. Tocqueville.  All rights reserved.

Guests can enjoy tennis on the newly-renovated tennis courts, and satellite TV, DVDs, phone, Internet, WiFi, a washing machine, dishwasher, all linens and central geothermal heating are all provided.  Daily maid service is also included.

So, you see you will be able to completely relax and enjoy yourself in beautiful Normandy at any time of year on the grounds of Château de Tocqueville.  Do return to the au Château web site in July to read all about the renowned Alexis de Tocqueville and this elegant château.  Of course, if you are interested in booking in advance, don't hesitate to contact us

Remember that 2014 is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, and travelers will be flocking to Normandy!

[Photo © copyrighted by S. de Tocqueville.  All rights reserved.]

Featured Bed & Breakfast: 
Château de Vollore
~ visit the dramatic Auvergne ~

Château de Vollore.  Photo copyright M. Aubert La Fayette.  All rights reserved.

If you've never visited the Auvergne, you're in for a very pleasant surprise.  It is a land of dramatic scenery dotted with dormant volcanoes and mountain ranges.  The Monts Dore and the Chaîne des Puys ( puy is the French term for a volcanic dome with a round profile) include 80 volcanoes. The Auvergne is located between the cities of Limoges in the Limousin and Lyons in the Rhône. 

Sitting like a crown at the top of a hill is the wonderful Château de Vollore owned by direct descendants of General Marquis de La Fayette ~ a hero of the American Revolution and who looked to President George Washington as the father he never had, his having died when he was two years old.  The château's owners are proud of their brave ancestor who rushed off at the age of 19, against the wishes of his family and his King, to aid the Colonists in their quest for freedom.

The château is a most welcoming place.  The owners, Monsieur and Madame Aubert La Fayette, have created an elegant yet comfortable retreat for guests.  In addition to the spectacular views, guests will enjoy lovely, leisure breakfasts, a swimming pool, a tennis court and pretty gardens to roam.  Guest rooms are all en suite, spacious and elegant.  There are fine restaurants a short drive from the château where guests can enjoy fine dinners featuring local specialties. 

Take a day trip to Vichy, just up the road, a small city with the unfortunate history of being the capital of France's Free Zone for four years during World War II.  Today, it has returned to the charming spa town that once made it famous throughout Europe, with architecture in the style of Napoleon III who came here in 1861 to take the waters ~ the city's first 'golden age'.  In 1900, art nouveau canopies and other adornments were added to some of the buildings. An excellent example of art nouveau in Vichy is the theatre/opera house of 1902 ~ a period in its history that some consider Vichy's second golden age.

A special time awaits you in the Auvergne and at Château de Vollore.  Don't miss an opportunity to visit it on our web site and to stay here and explore the rugged Auvergne on your next visit to France.  For reservations or to check availability, please contact us at

[Photo © M/Mme Aubert La Fayette. All Rights Reserved.]

  Villes et Villages de France

 . . . we hope to tempt you to visit these marvelous places
when you are roaming through the French countryside.

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Vaucluse. Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.


This shop, with its irresistible pillows, towels and other natural fabric creations, is just one of many in the delightful Provençal village of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in the Vaucluse.  Built along the River Sorgue, the town's merchants and restaurateurs take full advantage of the location with waterside cafés, stores and boutiques.  If you are lucky enough to be there on a Sunday, you will enjoy the open-air market which had its premier November 9, 1596 - nearly 420 years ago! 

Less than 15 kilometers due east of Avignon, the village is easy to find and even easier to adore.  Spend some time here wandering through the little boutiques and having a leisurely lunch or dinner on the water.  It's simply delightful ~ and a shopper's paradise!

[Photos © Cold Spring Press.  All Rights Reserved.]

Featured Rental Château: 
Château de Détilly
~ your wedding destination in the Loire ~

Château de Détilly   Copyright Cold Spring Press.  All rights reserved.

Elegant and welcoming, Château de Détilly in the Loire of France is the ideal getaway for a group of friends or a family gathering - and it is a special venue for that dream wedding at a French château.  Able to accommodate 19 guests in the château and an additional 8 guests in the beautiful Coach House, Château de Détilly, is comfortable and provides all one needs for a pleasant week or more in the French countryside.

The château has a large, professional kitchen adjoining a superb breakfast room, and several relaxing areas for your group to gather.  The Coach House is modern and sunny and has its own kitchen.  A fine swimming pool, tournament quality tennis court, volley ball court, bocce pitch and more are available to guests, and both wine tastings and cooking courses can be arranged.

Bridal couples will also find Château de Détilly the ideal destination for their château wedding in France.  A lovely chapel next to the château is perfect for the ceremony, and the gardens provide a stunning backdrop for photos.  Wonderful memories will be made at this very special château. 

Visit the château on our site today, and for further information or reservations, please contact us at

The owners are offering a 30% discounton the rental rate 
for any weekly bookings between June 22 and July 27, 
so contact us today to find out what weeks may still be available.

[Photo is © copyrighted by Mr David Jones.  All rights reserved.]



La Licorne de Cluny banner

Visit La Licorne de Cluny Tapestries online - or drop in at their gallery in Paris
at 1, place Paul Painlevé in the 5th arrondissement - to see their outstanding
collection of tapestries produced near Lille on Jacquard looms. A variety of sizes, 
subjects and prices are available to bring a bit of French elegance into your home. 

News from Our Members . . .

Getting the news!Château de Saint-Maclou in Normandy will be presenting a Son et Lumière (Sound and Light Show) at the estate on the 14th of July ~ Bastille Day.  If you are interested in booking a room at this lovely bed and breakfast, please contact us while rooms are still available.

Domaine de Moulin Mer in Brittany has completed the installation of a wellness center making a Sauna, Steam room and Spa / Jacuzzi available to guests.  This is a very charming bed and breakfast, that also serves delectable dinners with advance reservation and is in a truly bucolic Breton setting. Contact us for reservations.

Château de Chorey in Burgundy, closed for renovations for the past 18 months, will take bed and breakfast reservations for September and October, and offers guests the opportunity to have wine tastings of regional wines.  The château owners sold their vineyards, but their wines are still available from the new owners.  And, they hope to re-open the château next year as a weekly rental. If you would like to reserve a few nights in a lovely Burgundy setting, send us an email.

Le Pavillon de Galon, a charming bed and breakfast with award-winning gardens in Provence, now produces its own wines and olive oil.  To find out more, contact us.

The lovely Château de Prauthoy in Champagne country offers their guests chauffeured tours of wine country in their luxury classic automobiles.  If this is something you would enjoy, contact us for further information.

Consider having your wedding at Château de Reignac in the Loire.  This beautiful château bed and breakfast offers an experienced wedding organizer, Françoise, to answer all your questions and assist you with the planning of your special day.  Contact us for more details.

** There is still some availability for August (France's busiest vacation month) if you would like to rent Château de Tertre de Belvès just outside of Bordeaux.  The château can accommodate up to 21 people, so if your group is looking for a great getaway, let us know.

Easy Recipe ~  Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

We're all familiar with green pesto made with basil, and there are some recipes made instead with parsley.  But, red sun-dried tomato pesto is yet another version that is easy to make and quite delicious.

You will need an 8-ounce bottle of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained**, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, half a dozen crushed garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of pine nuts, a teaspoon of sea salt (preferably from France), 1/2 cup of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup of freshly-grated Grana cheese (our favorite ~ try to get the authentic Grana Padano from Italy).  If you can't find Grana, you can substitute Parmiagiano-Regiano.

Start by putting a bit of the olive oil in a skillet, adding the pine nuts to gently sauté - do not let them burn!  Cool the pine nuts and put them into a food processor along with the garlic, salt and drained sun-dried tomatoes.  Blend to the consistency of a paste.  Add the Parmesan cheese, blend further, add the remaining olive oil and then the Grana cheese.  Blend once again until it has a smooth consistency. 

Delicious spread on slices of toasted baguette or ficelle (the thinnest baguette), crackers or served with a selection of olives and cheese.

Bon appétit! 

** We suggest organic sun-dried tomatoes such as these Mediterranean Sundried Tomatoes that
 are dried naturally in the sun and without sulphur dioxide which artificially produces the dark red color.
These are available online from Tropical Traditions (in the US) and at many retail outlets.

  We hope you have enjoyed au Château News.
If you have,  please forward it to friends and 
encourage them to subscribe.  It's FREE!

Answer to Quiz 114 - Where Are We?  from our Spring issue

 The Roman amphitheatre in Orange.
The winner of our France calendar is a subscriber in Luxembourg!
Thank you all for participating.

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